Specialty Fabrics Review August 2021 - 38

The Hassell Studio/Eckersley
O'Callaghan design for habitation
on Mars uses regolith (loose rocky
material found on Mars) as a material
to robotically 3D print an external shell
to support inflatable pods for living
and working. Photo: Hassell Studio/
Eckersley O'Callaghan.
ILC Dover is not alone in
anticipating the development of fabric
structures for Space. Others, such
as the Sierra Nevada Corp. (SNC)
of Sparks, Nev., are also working on
producing inflatable space habitats.
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HABITAT CHALLENGE
As part of its Centennial Challenges
program, NASA launched a
3D-Printed Habitat Challenge, inviting
global teams to submit sustainable
housing solutions using 3D printing
technology. Architectural renderings
were to be submitted for the first
phase, culminating with the use of
building information modeling (BIM)
software for a virtual component, and
a one-third scale 3D-printed habitat
for the final level. The competition is a
clear indicator that future materials in
Space will be as much about systems of
production as the raw materials.
Xavier De Kestelier, architect with
the global company Hassell Studio,
along with London-based engineering
firm Eckersley O'Callaghan (EOC)
38 SPECIALTY FABRICS REVIEW / August 2021
developed a proposal designed to
be a " home away from home " with
a series of inflatable pods containing
everything needed to live and work
on another planet.
Comparing the difference between
designing habitat for Earth and Space,
De Kestelier sees that " the tools are
the same, but the consequences are
an awful lot more. If I have a breach
in my inflatable on Earth, not a big
problem; if I have one on Mars,
massive problem. "
Because of their low weight and
mass in transit, inflatables have a long
history in Space, going back to the
1960s with NASA, and later Bigelow
Aerospace and SNC. The Hassell/
EOC design uses a shell structure base
that's 3D printed by lunar robots using
regolith (loose rocky material found on
Mars) as the material. The inflatable
structures with their supporting
inflated ribs would be housed within
these pods, which reduces the amount
of material to be transported, with the
3D printing robots themselves reused
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Specialty Fabrics Review August 2021

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